More Santa Clara County Jail Deputies May Be Arrested Following Sheriff's Investigation: Sources - NBC Bay Area
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More Santa Clara County Jail Deputies May Be Arrested Following Sheriff's Investigation: Sources

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    NBC Bay Area has learned the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department has wrapped up investigations in some cases involving deputies allegedly beating inmates. The department is bracing for more deputies to be charged and arrested, sources told NBC Bay Area. Robert Handa reports. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016)

    The embattled Santa Clara County Jail and its staff will soon be back in the harsh legal spotlight.

    NBC Bay Area has learned the sheriff's department has wrapped up investigations in some cases involving deputies allegedly beating inmates. The department is bracing for more deputies to be charged and arrested, sources told NBC Bay Area.

    The jail has faced a lot of scrutiny since three correctional deputies were arrested and charged with murdering an inmate in August. And this time, it is the sheriff's own investigations leading to more possible arrests.

    Sources said some investigations that have just completed are expected to put more correctional deputies behind bars.

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    The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department has been investigating numerous cases in which inmates claim to have been beaten by jail deputies. In addition, the department has been reviewing every inmate grievance since 2010.

    "Some of the investigations have revealed significant results," Sheriff Laurie Smith said.

    The Sheriff's Office will not comment on specifics, but sources said investigators have wrapped up some cases and now anticipate more correctional officers to be arrested soon.

    Smith confirmed her office's investigations revealed potential criminal conduct by some correctional officers.

    "I think 'use of force' is certainly something that is one of our greatest concerns, but we've investigated anything, all allegations," Smith said. "But 'use of force' is the one that is always the most troubling."

    Sources said one case that could lead to at least one arrest involves a claim filed by Ruben Garcia, a former gang member who told NBC Bay Area he was beaten up and had his jaw broken by jail deputies last July.

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    The sheriff said the jail environment has changed since then with proactive measures, including an outside review by the FBI. Increased supervision and training are also some of the changes made at the jail.

    The sheriff's office soon plans to implement a new "use of force" policy.

    "Anytime that we arrest any of our staff, that is a bad reflection on the organization," Smith said. "And I think what's really important is that we are really taking firm action internally and thoroughly looking at everything."

    NBC Bay Area has also learned the sheriff's department investigations have been turned over to the District Attorney's Office. Based on past procedure, sources said if the District Attorney's Office agrees about the alleged criminal conduct, arrests could take place in the next few weeks.

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